India has constituted a high-level enquiry committee to look into the security concerns raised by the US government, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Wednesday. The US recently claimed that the government, at the seniormost level, raised concerns with India and shared inputs on a "nexus between organised criminals, gun runners and terrorists".
The US government's claim followed a news report that American authorities thwarted a plot to kill Sikh separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on US soil. In its first reaction to such a claim last week, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "During the course of recent discussions on India-US security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to nexus between organised criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others. The inputs are a cause of concern for both countries and they decided to take necessary follow-up action".
Financial Times reported last week that there was a conspiracy to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American-Canadian citizen, the general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, and a designated terrorist in India. The report said US President Joe Biden raised the matter with PM Modi during a meeting at the G20 summit in New Delhi in September.
The issue surfaced amid an ongoing India-Canada diplomatic row triggered by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's public allegation that Indian agents had a role in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. India rejected the charge and accused Canada of providing safe haven to Khalistani separatists. India temporarily suspended visa services in Canada citing security issues for its diplomats. The services resumed signalling a thaw in the diplomatic relationships.
On Wednesday, the spokesperson made a detailed statement reiterating how India takes such inputs seriously.
"We have already said that during the course of discussions with the US on bilateral security cooperation, the US side shared some inputs pertaining to the nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others. We had also indicated that India takes such inputs seriously since they impinge on our national security interests as well, and relevant departments were already examining the issue. In this context, it is informed that on 18 November 2023, the Government of India constituted a high-level Enquiry Committee to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter. Government of India will take necessary follow-up action based on the finding of the Enquiry Committee," the MEA statement read.
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